Feb 13, 2013, 4:37 PM EDT
In December of 2011, the NHL announced a “radical” realignment plan that split the league into four “conferences” as opposed to its current structure of two conferences with three divisions in each.
The NHLPA eventually scuttled the plan, citing concerns over travel as well as the fairness of the proposed playoff qualification system.
Now, realignment is back on the table (this time, the league and union are working out the details together), and according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the NHL is hoping to put everything to bed in two weeks or so (via Yahoo!’s Nick Cotsonika).
But Daly says this realignment plan will be slightly different than the last one, which featured the following four conferences:
—- New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina
—- Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay
—- Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Chicago, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg
—- Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado
Daly wouldn’t say what’s changed — there will still be four conferences, so we can only assume some teams have been shuffled around.
Did it make sense having the two Florida teams playing in the same division as Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Buffalo instead of being grouped with other southern teams like Carolina, Nashville and/or Dallas?
What about keeping Winnipeg out of a division with natural (and old Smythe Division) rivals Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver?
That’s for the league and players to decide.
Under the NHL’s plan, the top four teams in each conference would make the postseason. The first two rounds of the playoffs would be played within the conference (1 v 4, 2 v 3) with the four surviving teams advancing to the semi-finals.
Which is to say, postseason familiarity is going to create some serious rivalries, a la the once-great Battle of Alberta. So while travel distance should obviously be a factor in determining who goes where, other factors like history and the team’s country will likely be considered as well.
If all goes well, NHL owners should vote on new realignment plan week of Feb. 25th
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 13, 2013
Sep 18, 2014, 11:42 AM EDT
Taken 16th overall in 2007.
Sep 18, 2014, 11:27 AM EDT
Remember him? Taken 3rd overall in 2004… behind Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin.
Sep 18, 2014, 11:10 AM EDT
Tough blow for a kid looking to make the leap this season.
Sep 18, 2014, 11:01 AM EDT
Just a precautionary measure, said GM Jim Rutherford.
Sep 18, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT
He spent a lot of time on the sidelines last season, but Pittsburgh leaned on him heavily when he was healthy.
Sep 18, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
Retired Finnish star was diplomatic after being made a healthy scratch, but now he’s opening up.
Sep 18, 2014, 9:01 AM EDT
Is it still reasonable to believe this might have a relatively happy ending for both sides?
Sep 18, 2014, 7:57 AM EDT
Thursday’s collection of links.
Sep 17, 2014, 10:48 PM EDT
Brendan Bell also gets a chance to impress.
Sep 17, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
A clothing-conscious post.
Sep 17, 2014, 8:59 PM EDT
His back issues present another headache for Columbus.
Sep 17, 2014, 7:50 PM EDT
He has 44 games of NHL experience under his belt.
Sep 17, 2014, 6:39 PM EDT
Insert your “humongous big” jokes here.
Sep 17, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT
Quite an open letter.
Sep 17, 2014, 5:26 PM EDT
Sep 17, 2014, 5:01 PM EDT
His agent says it’s best to leave town and avoiding being a distraction.
Sep 17, 2014, 3:09 PM EDT
“No matter how much my old teammates say it doesn’t bother them, it affects them. It does in that city.”
Sep 17, 2014, 2:37 PM EDT
And on the possibility of his client signing an offer sheet? “Well, we’ll have to see.”
Sep 17, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT
“Justin has emerged as one of our most well-rounded and dependable defensemen.”
Sep 17, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT
“We’ve been told if we don’t give them what they want, they’ll be leaving town.”
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